“Just because he’s a nice guy doesn’t make him the RIGHT guy.
I say that to people I know from time to time. It’s always hard to say; I don’t want to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong or risk ruining a good relationship.
So why do I?
Because, honestly, the other person’s welfare — especially a person who I hold dear to my heart — is more important to me than our friendship. I guess that’s a bit oxymoronic, but it’s the only way I know how to explain.
I also say it because it’s what I know from my own experience, and I think our experiences are good for nothing except in helping others. (Isn’t that the only thing we can be confident in when giving advice? To say, “It happened this way for me” and then keep your peace?).
It’s what I had to tell myself during my own difficult situation. At least, similar in its beginnings. Endings and middles are always different.
I won’t make this post long, but it comes to mind occasionally to let people know that…
Relationships — romantic or not — need to be frequently assessed.
Seriously. A relationship that started out healthy and blooming can, over time, due to whatever, deteriorate into something unhealthy and even dangerous.
Lovers. Friends. Neighbors. Family. Any relationship is vulnerable to influences, whether internal or external, that can cause things to go sour.
So what can you do?
3 Ways to Keep Relationships Healthy*
1. Don’t Forget Why You Like Them
There’s a reason you like this person. Remember back. That same trait that was likable then… too much now? Why? Have YOU changed? If so, how or why?
Maybe you just need a little less of that likable thing. Sometimes friendships need a break. That old saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Yeah. There’s actually something to it.
2. This Relationship Isn’t About You.
If you think it is, first slap yourself. Second, apologize. Third, make a commitment to change.
You don’t have relationships with people to make yourself feel special. You have them because you feel like other people are special and you want to show them why.
If YOU have somehow failed in acknowledging this other person’s importance in your life, they may be lashing out from feeling ignored or under/unappreciated. In that case, you ought to ‘fess up and make it right.
If THEY have done wrong — meaning, assuming the relationship is all about them — time for a serious sit-down. If you can’t get them to understand how you see things or empathize with you, you may want to reconsider how they fit into your repertoire of relationships.
3. Honestly Assess Them.
This is where I usually falter, but I’m getting better. I tend to go in meeting new people with the “zero judgment” (and “super excitement”) policy. If they’re loud, that’s just “how they are”. If someone else warns me about them, it’s probably just bad blood from the past that won’t effect me.
“Zero judgment” sounds nice, but I’m learning to approach new relationships with a degree of self-preserving hesitation because what happens is that the person is loud because they’re a control freak or attention snob, or the bad blood is really bad manners on behalf of the accused (examples only).
Honestly assess this other person, especially if you’ve known them a while (or are romantically involved) and your judgment could be clouded by, say, loyalty or love. Is this a toxic relationship? Do you get anxious just thinking about spending time with them?
Again, you may want to reconsider how they fit into your repertoire of relationships and reorganize as needed.
Nice guys (or girls) can be a Jekyll or a Hyde… or Both.
Nice people are sometimes just genuinely nice people. But, sometimes, they’re trouble in disguise.
Bad relationships often seem ok on the outside but transform into terrors once night falls. Be aware of your surroundings (i.e.: know WHO is surrounding YOU) and adjust, flee, or fight, accordingly.
Here’s to Happy, Safe, and Fulfilling Relationships,
*I have to footnote this headline because I’m not a doctor or a therapist. I have no actual qualifications to validate this list other than to say it’s my opinion. There. Said it. Take with prescribed (just kidding) grain of salt.